Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Social media call centres

I was asked an interesting question today:

"As social media is resource intensive and requires almost one-one human interaction, do you think there is a business model in outsourcing the front line conversation management to a call centre type operation?"

My immediate response was "highly unlikely", mainly because I think it needs someone who really understands the brand to participate in conversations in social media. I really don't think you can follow a script, like many call centre processes. There are too many variables and directions that a conversation can take to be covered by a script. It needs someone who is empowered to talk on behalf of the brand and who can use their initiatives to start conversations and respond to opportunities they spot in social media.

Plus, as everything is public, searchable and easily shared, then any mistake a 'social media agent' makes can have massive repercussions - remember Habitat who tried to blame their gaffe on a student placement?

Maybe I'm being too precious about my job and I'm insulting call centre professionals [apologies that is not my intention] Maybe it will happen as it did with the customer service industry. However, I do remember Tim Dyson of Next Fifteen [PR network Bite, Text100] talking about outsourcing press release writing to India, but the plan never materialised.

Maybe I'll be proved wrong and in ten years time I'll be writing scripts for social media call centre software.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Wii Spray Paint Graffiti

My mate Tom has been working on a very cool application that combines a Wii controller with a spray paint can - basically you can do virtual graffiti.

It works via Infra Red and a back lit projector. You do your thang with then you can save it, print it out etc.
How nifty is that?

Sunday, 6 June 2010

iPod factory on suicide watch

I've been following the story about the high rates of suicides at Foxconn in China - the electronics plant that makes iPods, iPhones and other gadgets. I heard from Michael Netzley via FIR that Foxconn is getting workers to sign non suicide affidavits that allows the company to send them to a mental asylum if they try to commit suicide.

I know there are cultural differences and local factors to take into account when you are a westerner looking in onto a situation, and I know that it's not right for us in our comfy lives to pass judgement on others' lives, but this is wrong by anyone's standards, isn't it?

The fact that a factory, which in effect is a live in compound where workers sleep in bunks and work 80+ hours a week, has an extremely high suicide rate is bad enough. But that workers are made to promise not to top themselves other wise they get locked up, is even worse.

However, the scary thing is: what will I, and people like me, actually do if Apple don't do something about the conditions under which their products are produced? Will I ditch my iPhone, iPod and Mac? Will I refuse an iPad given to me by my IT dept to test out?